Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Day 138

When you live in a house on your own, you just take care of whatever comes up, lawn-wise, garbage-wise, appliance-wise and other-wise. There is no need for thinking.

When you are newly alone in a house on your own, you notice sounds you may have dismissed before, even those you automatically blame on the cat. Especially those you automatically blame on the cat, when you spy her, out of the corner of your eye, sleeping nearby.

Orion is visiting his dad tonight, so I am the only human in this house. All the kitties are asleep.

So now, there is a raccoon staring at me through the window. (True enough, it startled me at first, proving once again that in these sorts of encounters I tend to freeze like a guinea pig for a few seconds before acting. I think well enough, but not so quickly I'd ever be mistaken for an action hero.) Then it scuttled away and is now back. I'm not particularly afraid of raccoons and, apparently, neither are they of me. Probably it wants some of my peanuts, which are boiled in the shell, and warm.

Another thing about being the only human in the house is that I can watch as much cheesy old science fiction as I like, while eating exactly what I want, in pajamas that don't at all match.

This evening is for taking a break from thinking about things, or myself, or anyone I know. Learning to do this is a required course as it's extremely useful. Soon, sleep in cool desert air. We'll see what this does for your artist's brain.

I'll let you know. g'night

Monday, May 30, 2011

Day 137

I watch the clouds slide over the mountains like a shade being drawn. They are pushed by powerful winds that sculpt their edges into alien cathedrals. Down here the air slips cool and fast through my hair and on to rattle the jacaranda, scattering blossoms. For one crystalline moment I'm aware of the motion inherent in all things, from quarks to galaxies. Only for the briefest of moments, immeasurable, disorienting, dizzying.

Glimpses are all we get. Bits beyond any human equation, past understanding.

I close my eyes, feel the wind, hear it, wonder at all it carries along. A moment.

I have troubles, but they are mine. I have responsibilities, but I embrace them. I have a path that I will choose for myself at every turn, from this moment forward.

I am free.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Day 135

The first kitty to be born is the first to open her eyes. We'll be watching them all weekend, for sure.

It's Saturday morning. When I open my eyes, I remember that Spencer isn't here, and all that goes with. I don't cry. I've cried enough. What's here is sadness. What's gone is the weight of dread. But not the weight of worry for him. That may take some time and willpower. Tough love is tough on both the giver and the receiver. I have to let go and he has to find his way.
Lesson learned.

This weekend I will spend with Orion, tying up loose ends, sending poppets out to collectors waiting. My art is my livelihood and I am surviving. I call that success, but I couldn't do it without those who've given homes to so many of my creations. I'm deeply grateful to each of you. I'll keep making things that make you think and smile and sometimes laugh out loud.

It's Saturday morning and Soosi, good mother that she is, has begun to play again. She's a young mother, and it's good to see her bat a toy around. I don't want her to lose the ability to play. We never should.

It's Saturday morning and I don't know when I'll play again, but in my heart of hearts I know that I will.

It's Saturday morning and my eyes are a little more open.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Day 132

Flight at Dawn

Little is known about the history of poppets. Much of their story remains a mystery. I slowly piece it together from glimpses they offer. We know they're older than the Earth, that they call themselves something else and that their connection to humans began because of something to do with the crows.

There's more, of course, but this is the part, the beginning of the 'us' (humans and poppets,that is) that inspired the 'Dawn' painting and this sculpure. The book will come later- if it does -hopefully before the end of me.

Aubrey took this photo of three maidens dancing. Summer solstice will be here soon and hey, the rapture happened and we're still here. Son = Sun. Same, samey, same. Calls for dancing. Silly humans.

Here is the wedding cake under the Alice in Wonderland - themed poppet wedding topper. Cool-ass cake, for sure.

Kitten update. Their eyes aren't quite open yet, but soon. You'll be happy to hear that Soosi is proving to be an excellent mother. She was antsy and protective today, so we kept 'Kitteh Hall' very quiet and private.

And finally, your artist et al is going through a breakup. Everyone is behaving with as much grace and courtesy as possible. It's very good to have that. But difficult all the same. I continue to work because I must meet practical needs. In turn, the work supports me spiritually and keeps me centered. Poppets help me keep a longer view. Silly humans. And so do you. Thank you for being here, fellow travelers. I have sons, daughters, little dancers and kittens. And always my companion, work. Sadness comes in turns, like seasons and flu. Must be mine, again.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Day 128

Last night I worked late on a crow piece. I didn't clean up after myself. Usually I do. At the end of the day I'll sweep up and put things away. I was tired. But the vibe was really good. The energy of the work lingered in the room even after I was spent. I could feel it. Maybe you can see it.

I usually use this room only for poppets and smaller pieces, but the windows were open and the air felt good.

I stayed for hours.

Gene Wolfe photo is by Mimi Ko

Crow piece in progress. All day the first layers dried in the sun so for the night I could start putting on the surface, applying individual 'feathers' cut from card stock and layered with paper mache paste brushed on to add strength and texture.

Soosi snuggles.

And now it's Saturday. I'll sweep up, mix new paste and start again. Hope yours is good.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Day 127

New work: Night Sky is a paper mache globe, 13 inches tall.

Fox hardly needs explanation. Because of foxes.

A preliminary sketch for the current book project. The onion rings on the windowsill are rubber bands. Definitely a draft, but getting there.

And kitty photos of the day, thanks to Aubrey.

Thank you to Greg H, who spent the day here on Tuesday, doing lots of extremely helpful things and who was a joy to have around.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Day 126

Yesterday I worked on a book project.

Last night, Soosi, aka "the soosi balloon," went into labor.

Now there are seven very small creatures that look only sort of like cats.

Each is different from every other, though in some ways, exactly the same.

By the end, Soosi was very tired and needed some help.
This is number 7, new in package.

I'm honored and grateful to have been here for this.

Soosi with her Seven.

After school, Orion meets kitty #2. We decided naming should wait until eyes are open and personalities revealed. And because Bilbo turns out to be a girl.

This mama and chicks were crossing our street in the middle of the day, heading for the ponds and grass nearby. I love the first one. He was really into the marching thing.

And here is Aubrey as a tot, because I felt oddly compelled to end this post with early Aubrey. When we know creatures from their beginnings, we tend to see them as mosaics of all the versions of themselves we've ever known. It makes for a rich and complex sense, true of creatures human and not.

Your artist is very tired. G'night.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Day 123

I hold Soosi in my arms. I feel her babies moving under my fingers. Soft little turns and kicks. I watch the clouds slide over the mountains, which have lost nearly all of their snow. The oleanders are in full bloom and the view is lush. The air is full of bird sounds. Orion is still asleep. The smell of coffee brewing wafts in from the kitchen.

It's a beautiful, peaceful morning in Palm Springs but I'm troubled. I take a deep breath. These are uncertain times for humanity and tough times for me. I used to say, in reference to making the large kinetic works, that I loved the thrill of operating on the edge of failure. It's a thrill to push one's limits, stretch abilities past the level of comfort. An artist knows when she's in unknown territory and this inner exploration can be as exhilarating as mountain climbing to the mind suited to inner travels.

I didn't, at the time I talked about it, mean I'd enjoy several years of struggling to stay afloat. I find it interesting that struggling rhymes with juggling. And I feel like a clown. As happens, I sometimes see the deeper layers in a work only after it's finished.

I know now that this drawing, made late one night in a fit of emotion, is myself. I see all the symbols about loss and questions. I see the longing for the ocean under my eyes.

I believe I'm living the story that I might tell in the future, in programming lectures, or that I'll write in a book. It's not the sort of story we tell while we're in it. It's too raw and I have no idea what sort of story it will be until things change and this chapter is over.

I fear that things won't change, that I will only grow older and be trapped and fade into this cocoon.

But that's illogical. Things always change. I know myself. The one thing I don't do is give up. I hope that because I don't, others won't either. Tenacity and hope are as contagious as despair. I loathe despair and kick it away when it creeps up.

Fail! I thought, when I looked at the date. My goal to post every single day quite broken. But I've learned the difference between continual and continuous. I cling to my effort. I'm still in this year I set for myself to grow, started mid December.

I work it out in the work. I must exercise that mental muscle. To put aside my fears. That somehow we'll keep afloat if I keep working, if I remain kind. To hold to the belief that things will change for me and for you. That humans will wake up and find a better way. That Americans will change their minds. If not, I'll change mine and shut it out after all. If this is childish, then I'll be that. I don't have a better answer. I'm still looking.

I'm making art. Taking deep breaths. Making more art. It must be in there somewhere. Between the work, the mountains, the kittens and my son's sweet face. It must be there.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Day 118

Still working like a fiend. I'm not sure how I feel. Quiet and sort of flat in a way, a little removed. I do responsible and kind things but feel distant. When sadness appears I wave it away like smoke.

It's like when you're walking through a large and very crowded place and you're in a hurry. You're in the zone, you're dodging and weaving and moving fast with your head down and little thought in it other than moving toward where you're going. Wherever that is.

The work is wholly visual, or tactile, or colors. I'll figure out what it means later. or not.
My desk is piled high with mail, bills, lists, messages, my pregnant cat. I've stepped away, it seems. But not far, and not for long. Not lost, but wandering.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Day 116 or two

It's great to hear from you. Thanks for not thumping me about the kittens. Sheesh. I'm working intensely, sleeping and/or eating when I get tired or hungry. Wanted to wave and wish you well.
back to it then.


Thursday, May 05, 2011

Day 115

It's morning, 7:10. Invader Zim and pancakes. It's already bright outside. It will be hot today. I finished the Silly Humans sculpture.

Today is a big shipping day, so I'll likely be helping Aubrey. But later in the afternoon, I'll start framing up another paper mache piece. This is the season for it. Outside, the layers dry fast and strong.

I think I may have told you about Soosi getting out about three weeks ago. She pushed and pushed at the kitchen window screen until she could squeeze out over it. She came right back but we were worried. She still had one more booster to go before she could be spayed.

And now she is big as a basketball and full of kittens. I feel like an idiot. I know. Yes, I know the right thing would have been to abort them.

But I couldn't make myself do it.

Now we're faced with the inevitable basket of kittens.

There are many worse problems.

I'm taking another break from the news. Today is a gift and I intend to treat it that way. Honor it.

glitches and all.

I don't enjoy going to dark places, but I certainly seem to learn things there. It's where poppets speak things that make sense.

I will, of course, be counting on you to help me name kittens. sheesh. I am a fool. But then, we've established that.

have a good day.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Monday, May 02, 2011

Day 113

Today was the sort of day where there was little time between having to be one place or another. It's a beautiful desert night. I plan to sleep right through it.